doing quite well, and my youngest is still in college but he's looking at madison, looking at medical school. so why couldn't be prouder. i couldn't be prouder of the decisions they've made, the lives they've chosen and the kids, the grand children they produced. >> bay buchanan, author of the book bay and her voice unexpected lessons i learned as a mom. >> thank you very much. ..
losing people not houses, cars, computers, bic ycles, this is a country so seismically dynamic all of the world people said this is happened to our family many times over 500 years. my great-grandmother swam to safety -- safety during the last tsunami. it is the expected misfortune. there was an earthquake every day i was there all three months. you were constantly reminded and permanence you felt as if he were in a place where landscape shaped consciousness the mind, how you saw the world every day
and i felt it all these years i have been going to japan since my first visit 1968. it is a sense of a sense of beauty that shaped by permanents the shaking islands into a sense of freshness on the flip side of pain is the incredible open-door that keeps opening to freshness. nobody escaped the wave up the coast 375 miles. everybody was impacted somehow.
one person, we called him a the swimmer, a fisherman's trying to get to the harbor to drive his boat over the waves and did not quite make it. >> the paths of water how one swims and what it teaches, of gave rises from the sea floor and spread slow but it travels at jet speed hitting the shore. he was driving his car and was almost shaken off the road. six minutes later he turned toward his parents' house knowing his father was going the other way to isolate calling to the harbor. the elderly man did not hear. by the time he caught up with him his father climbed
the sea wall clutching a steel ladder. kukchi heard a roar it and tell the ocean floor was exposed. we have to get out of here but his father did not move. the roar intensified a white wine appeared at the horizon and the wave was coming fast. as kukchi climbed up to get his father, the water came and his father shook his head. one last look then the fisherman jumped off when he turned back his father was gone. he chose to stay and in the second i accepted it and thought it would be the same for me. water tower over him he sought a 9-ton squid boat
swinging and shattering. the waves swept and into the river that swept the town in half. he climbed onto a metal roof but though water pulled him out to sea. the water was black with diesel, guest, which, a dirt, mud, and kukchi thrashed around. there was another wave coming. water covered him again and he sought a rope dangling. i barely got to the pillar before the ocean dragged me back so i grabbed it. my lover have was submerged by kept holding on as the water drew away my legs were pulled out i was floating on the back progress first i
was not worried about losing my grip but then my hands got so cold. water came in title sequences. in between waves he remembers another period it's still this, the sea was a lagoon a log floated past. sitting astride he could see the extent of the destruction for the first time. the entire port demolished. fishing boats for rolled onto top of buildings. almost every house on including his own. of being floated by he was swimming in the remnants of his past. >> the first part of a june trip i traveled with a young woman and lived with her
parents. we all live together. there was no place to stay as he moved up the coast and no place to eat so i lived with my interpreters. it was wonderful. her extended family were all rice farmers and out on the sendai plane and with the actual city, the downtown area is higher up so it was a fit had earthquake damage was safe from the water bottle rice growing family lost their farms and everything and her uncle who was charming talked about how he and his wife for in the building like this and it lifted them almost to the ceiling and tilted the head back to pre-then the next wave there were able to get to the third floor.
he tells me this long story then he says the more i lose the happier i am. her father and mother drove me up the coast, much like big sur and of the beautiful. every coast is not the million-dollar house but a gorgeous little fishing village. every single one was wiped out. we saw fishing boats, a people's clothing hanging from trees and it was astonishing. it is the path the poet took when writing the fifth travel diary.
and it is a large town and of all the towns visited with fishing boats on the terrace and answering machines and where doctors and patients and nurses were swept away. but then then the tide was coming in when it was dark in this is what i saw. >> water is heavy after being displaced it is a moving mass and fluidity is solid. it slips and slides and gathers and fills and carves new shapes to be sharp as
knives a fisherman stands in front of his boat the bowel piercing the second story of his house. broken dishes lie in the street and his arms are folded. he stares for around in the sky darkens and a curtain of black rain begins to fall. he doesn't run for cover or the 3,000 people that died in one day. everything is black, blackwater raising raising, row after row fashioned -- fishermen houses are vented battered by debris we move through merck and ink after the poet set off to search the far
north as well as the injury chains of the mind he lost his way in the verge from the forest it was a thriving seaport writing merchant ships gathered in the bay and in the town had smoke rose continuously from the salt kiln site thought i'd never intended to come to a place like this. we look for lodging but were refused by everyone. with you right on this page of destruction? an aftershock rattles the car windows. the road is 2 feet higher but not enough. high tide water splashes against the tires. this part moved east 17 feet and downward to free. now water enters and reenters every boat and
house and living room. when the water drains a single line of cars and trucks go over bridge the sea wall to protect the town is completely submerged, rubbish, a 200-foot high wall lions' one point* and smashed cars are stacked three high. a paper factory in ruined the sawdust piles blowing, a small river obstructed by a boat. then driving on the potholes' on the road so nearly almost go through the front door of another house. a buddhist priest walks need deep in slush among buildings that were uprooted like trees.
he bows. we identified two priests who we saw walking up and down the coast. one was spelling in front of the crematorium that said please ring the bodies one id -- one at a time we don't have the facilities for any more. there was a line of wheelbarrows with dead people and each one the priest about and this was the everyday sight. i don't think i need to remind you there were three disasters on this day. of course, the nine point* zero earthquake, the tsunami that ran between 60 and 133 feet high, of course,
the four meltdowns which will always be affecting that country and the people. one of the wonderful things that happened because of my friend put me in touch with an american who put me in touch with the japanese buddhist nun and two was an avid of a small country temple and we went to see her. also one of the crazy things that happened in the second part of the trip interpreter in my driver had strange names the the interpreter was named niki half through new zealand in half japanese
saw her name meant diary. and the driver had a nickname of this -- abyss so we went 6 miles up the river nobody thought the tsunami would bother them but it did. >> the added entry is quiet and slender and tall and he sits with impeccable posture. i have three daughters and put them through school and they have not been back since. then my knees came visiting to say she wanted to become a nun. she was joking i told her to shave her head right away. she did that meant she was serious so i sent her to a monastery.
one wave was 2 meters high receded and came back as a 3-meter wave a big tsunami wave the bottom of the river showed if this had never happened before. the temple of the road was washed away and lost all the headstone's from the grave, rice fields swept clean, no one wants to live in the village now. he recalls afterwards it began snowing hard. and 89 year-old woman showed up soaking wet and shivering, the habits wife warmed her and gave her dry clothes. after the water came up the river we had 70 people staying here. it became too crowded. we had nothing to eat for four-- i still -- send them to believe these warm for vegetables. 100 people died near the temple.
know only a roof and a framed then the extraordinary thing happened survivors drug the dead under the river bringing them to us something real barrows or in the back of small trucks and. the dead kept arriving corp's filled the courtyard so was like a graveyard airline all the way around the center pine tree. we had ceremonies for the dead only one has been found but there are still seven missing in another neighbor never found his family at all he read in the newspaper they died. the most courageous of paul was a young woman who was on pregnancy leave to have her baby but the older one was washed away.
so the mother got a license to drive day facto. now she digs for the missing every day. not only for her own daughter but the children of other survivors. so far she has not found anyone that will not give up. i had a friend and she is still digging for survivors. an amazing woman. in japan a little unusual to see a woman driving a back hoe. i have a tiny short chapter that is sprinkled through the text is a bit more personal.
hard rain begins and and stability causes the ocean bet to keep moving sea foam clobbers young waves and fractured spine to more shakes with a warning siren it must be reminiscent of the second world war when sendai was obliterated in the a-bomb was twice dropped. newspaper woman says she lost house is twice once in nagasaki and now with the tsunami. before the rain stops what feels like a mask, drops off not the face mask we wear to protect from toxic dust that those car to 30 years ago with a hardened exterior.
one small boy said i feel one way when people are watching but i'm another person when i'm alone without my mother or father. another young boy watched both parents drone have not spoken a word since the crisis in the dark too often we do not relate directly to experience a mask, the scarf, the tall boots it is brittle a few pieces fall and maybe we don't have to take away off may be to have rainwater loosen it the masked slides i cry for only the second time. tears roll and a crumples
and not so much a question of giving in up, the masked begins to give you up because it has no function anymore. lying down my rib cage floats and rises to the ceiling and hangs there. wrists, and knuckles, the bones, rain comes hard and a morning like is watched as the shadow had gone back to scrape darkness from stone. >> i will read one last little bit. because there was no place to live, most of the trip i
ended up to stay at the driver's house. it was a wonderful traditional but very rundown place way up in the mountains and took several hours to get there. so we spent a lot of time in his van. i felt at home and i am that generation i ended up composing a lot of the parts of the book while we were driving on my back period because it was too rough to right. it was a of meditation time
and it was very precious. this is one of the things that i wrote. the ocean is heavy as the planet took shape, water came from inside the earth. the knee of natural disasters is nothing compared to the eruptions and the temperature fell 212 degrees below zero and spewing water vapor condensed into oceans. ocean bytes they were made from water squeezed from primordial earth later water rich planets crashed spilling more liquid. morningstar come evening star, we lift between them and drag of cloud keeps wiping away the i come the
drowning a tiny i to take a last look at the ruined her son with him in excess at its genius and airlift and music, water stops and down under water i try to see is the abyss dark were fed by fire? i hold a cracked t. boyle in my mind is lopsided, a beautiful, spilling the chill depth into which eyes slide break open like doors. he says you have to be alive to die. >> thank you. [applause]
and i think people see that that you have come to listen. we had a hard time getting them to talk just one at a time. and also niki does simultaneous translation. they did not even realize i did not speak japanese. and a wonderful 48 year-old long hair worker spoke a dialect and and to talk about what was important to think about in the situation how do you see its head on?
so he just started talking and also when you have these kinds of things have been in your life we have many losses, but it breaks the doors down. all the time i was there i felt the ground was made and then they kept falling away in the people we talk to had the same experience. it may close up later but it was a terrific time and in june as the euphoria of survival that is bewildering. it is like a coin that could be tossed and it is real
pain not neurotic suffering but rising at of that is the euphoria shaking you into a freshness. >> does anyone expressed the desire to move to some other part of the world when there's so much radiation they are exposed to? >> the area is very rural and other is one thing for city people to move around around, but in rural japan that seems to be extremely traditional.
you cannot say i will lease some rice fields summerhouse these are people generations and hundreds and hundreds of years have been in the same place doing the same thing including the young people now. nobody wanted to move. maybe there is somebody who could not find their way but for the ones who stayed, they would not be able to move. that was part of the extraordinary quality that was there for all of us. there was no escape from surviving or dying or the
illness rather we were exposed to radiation or not. as my friend said, you just face what is, the problems of living and surviving. and actually made it on the more precious and poignant. >> i cannot resist asking asking, how did they feel about their children exposed to radiation? that would be a whole new level of consciousness. >> some have been sent farther north, west, of
boarding school situation. a man i know who owns the of patagonia of japan built sustainable housing farther north in that area to get them away. and food is labeled to where it has been grown are harvested so the cheapest is the most radiated but it is the market economy of the world. they have a choice. and then eight years from the previous year's harvest.
>> you said you voted -- visited three different trips did you sense a change of attitude or frustration levels? if you can apply to yourself or how the incites change. >> in june there was a sense of survivor euphoria. a great openness. maybe not fully comprehending what had happened. you can only take in so much loss at a time but i returned in september and a
large force seven typhoon came up the coast. not much in the news here and usually the typhoon's go to the west side of japan. but this one came blasting up the coast. all the rice farmers i know, the land was covered in three and 4 feet of bodies and debris and boats, not we wanted to grow food but they were donated swale and maneuver and just growing winter vegetables because they had to have something to eat. just trying to survive. when the typhoon came, it completely flooded everything with that was planted, even many temporary houses where people were moved after they got out of
the evacuation centers then they had to be evacuated again. but it went through the bottom floor of the store so they were repairing their houses. it is wiped out. elderly couples were committing suicide all the time because they thought they had to make room for the younger people because there was a lack of food, housing, everything, so day would make space. it was just a shock. they were despondent. a great uncle and aunt of my interpreter from sendai said
they had just gotten permission from the government to fix up the house for a on the edge of the tsunami waters. he is a great flower farmer and ordered a little bit manic and ordered hundreds and was so excited to start again and put in a big winter garden and it was completely wiped out and he said, i've told the carpenter not to come. i don't know what i will do. in december when i return to, it was cold, snowing, and people had come around again. more like the june visit not wildly euphoric but the real
determination to just keep going forward to make things right. they all harvested grains and things to survive in the snow, a building greenhouses and the government gave fishermen between 75 and 95% and fixing up boats and fishing even though the worst for rain at radiation disaster in history but they still had to eat. so they were working with greenpeace to measure the radiation they knew it was better to eat the migrating fish because they had gone through quickly instead of the oysters or seaweed or
the bottom feeding fish. people were working at it. and my moods change according they. in september i got very sick with a high fever and was delirious and was really depressed and then a wetback and it was different. it was from whenever i was suggesting they all seem to be doing pretty well considering. >> have you been in touch with the people you interviewed? will you be able to bring your book to japan for author programs? will it be translated? >> yes. it will be translated. we're getting that sort out now. quickly i hope. what was the first question?
>> are you in touch with the people? >> yes. niki calls them or eel -- e-mail's them every few months so i get updates. i hear about the rice farmers and fishermen. the elderly fisherman said no, no, no. i am planting so come here for new year's. the temple, i donated some many, the big bill from the temple up the street that was washed away, i anchorage them to bring it to their temple and they will use the money to build a house for it. she said that is built and come for new year's.
we will ring the bell together. the fisherman and getting the boats built. one thing that is not happening i am interested in doing, people don't have time to actually rebuilt a house. they're still in temporary housing unless they're wealthier than most. they're busy fishing, farming, taking care of each other. i am trying to work with a collaborative sustainable way some builders from here, and from japan come and go village to village to help with rebuilding economical and sustainable
ways to build some nice small houses with traditional japanese aesthetic and we will see if that works out. >> we were reading in the beginning after the first disaster, people were unwilling to take more than what anybody else had. did that continue? >> yes. that priest said everything here is based on two concepts, together living and emptiness from which compassion rises.
you don't need to know anything else except that. that is what we're all doing. working together, we all understand each other here. there was a little luting. it was funny. outside of sendai are big factories like iota in there were beers' lying around on the ground. everybody said we have been through quite a bit we deserve a free beer. that was the extent. there were probably some problems nothing bad or grotesque.
>> can you talk about your first love of japan, and going to japan to explore the culture, a theater, poetry, , etc. that got you interested? >> when i was young, when i was 12 coming interest in japan is inexplicable, i don't know where it came from but my a mother gave me japanese poetry and i still have this precious coffee. so i have been reading japanese poetry for a long time with the travel diaries. in 1968 a friend went around the world and a film crew and sent me a ticket for the end of the filming and we traveled around.
we had no contacts, all i knew in those days was when the doors still wearing a kimono. you could go down a cobblestone street and go to the public bath and hear music -- the japanese flew to being played because the teacher lived down the street. the monks would come through in the traditional way and housewives would run out to give money. that was a common sight. when they came back from the first trip, i was living in los angeles and i immediately began meditations in practice. after that i spent a month in kyoto writing a play that
was supposed to be in the novel that i wrote about the internment camp in wyoming where i lived most of the time. and never finished the play but i had it as a great month. i went to rehearsals every afternoon and then to the performances at night. in the mid-80s with a friend who is fluent in japanese, we traveled around, we hit tight, we met potter's and farmers who grow apples, we wondered. and the medium's from the
northeastern tip of japan to talk to to the dead and in the summer they would set up a booth and you could ask them to talk to your dad and receive messages back. we were there in the winter so we saw over they were living with some great experiences. and i just wondered around. >> if what happened there occurred here in the united states, how do you think their reaction would differ? >> that is so loaded question. i don't think i want to go there. [laughter] i don't know.
all i can say is i hope we can learn from these other examples. i had an interesting talk with mr. wilson last summer talking with climate change and we're on the brink of extinction, and he said there is still hope. but we need to learn co-op -- live cooperative liang collaboratively and we have to change the way the world works altogether. some of us will survive. it is a dark picture but so many people around the world who live this way and have for a long time and there are people in this country, some sitting in this room who live this way.
so we have people who can help to remind us how to behave. >> you have any images or footage from your trip? >> yes. i have stills but i would show them but they're not that distinctive but nothing the you could not see online but yes, i took pictures with my phone like everybody else. but we had a photographer but she would not take
pictures and tell i was there with her. she is terribly afraid of ghosts. she had problems with dose while we were there, it's a long story but it was very interesting. i a traveled with indigenous arctic people for 20 years on and off and for the first 10 years i never even took a camera. one never blend since it is silly to think that you will but i wanted to be like a regular passenger on the past. >> it could do anything to actually help the people? >>. [laughter]
i listened to stories. i donated money every temple because niki is young and reads her tweets every second, we heard of a valid -- a village on the peninsula that had food problems so the three of us each donated our own money and bought a load of food and drove it out there. we put people in contact with the other nonprofits who have lots of people doing a fabulous cleanup projects. we did what we could. >> and hoping to rebuild with those rebuilding projects that will be the hardest because the government while they lie about radiation they help people every day but once
you're past the temporary housing situation then your on your own and you have to figure out how to build a house, pay for it it coming that will be hard. >> any other questions? i would like to thank gretel ehrlich for her wonderful and inspiring presentation of her new book "facing the wave." thank you for joining us of the mechanics institute in san francisco. we look forward to seeing you again. [applause] >> here is where the story starts to get interesting. i am convinced but give the the basic just commas sent off to fort leavenworth a lot of people did not like the trade as they do not
white officers who were to go fish or stood out too much and pretoria's was guilty on both. he was sent to fort leavenworth and a lot of people are thinking that's great. the fair hair boys sending out to pasture literally. but he realizes this is the intellectual center of the army. they form curriculum for the college, they organize the national training centers, the lessons from one affects the lessons of the other and affects the patterns of the next. and he said himself what powers he potentially had. holy cow. he talks like that like super, jeepers, holy cow they put insurgents in charge of change.
he views as up as the insurgent. [laughter] knew well there is a professor named elliot cahn a historian also neil conservative, one of those uphold starting conditions to invade iraq and also part of the defense policy advisory board. he goes to iraq and is the only number that goes there and sees it is a disaster. the insurgency is mounting. he comes back feeling really upset and pangs of guilt because he was advising this administration and advocated for the war. his son had recently joined the army and was going to be
sent to iraq coming into this mess he helped to create. he thinks he has to do something about this. so he goes through the rolodex and military journals to invite anybody he can find to right remotely anything interesting of counterinsurgency and warfare. so they'll a symbol for five days to discuss these things. the pivotal part is not what they discussed but that they met. they did not know each other or that they existed, they thought they were out on no limb writing staff nobody would reid, going against the mainstream army, a lot of people were junior officers, mid-level
officials, think tanks but they formed a community and might be able to do something to work together. they come away with a great sense of mission. meanwhile, a pitcher a/s knows a lot of these people. some were his students or colleagues for people under his command. he decides one thing he will do it is right gave new counterinsurgency field manual for the army. he draws on the group from the conference to be the inner circle, the people who helped him write to the conference. out side the usual channels within the army. four things happen at the end of 2006.
one, the midterm election, democrats win, of bush fires from sub -- from small the hires robert gates. number to announcing pretorius will go back to iraq. number three, bush announces he is ordering a surge of troops in iraq with another 20,000 common number four and has chosen a strategy that is counter insurgency calling it clear, bold, and build the idea being if you clear the area of insurgents, you stayed there, you hold it. you're not capable then you hope to build the infrastructure to build trust or a security structure. these four things and not happen by coincidence but it was part of the plot.
by the way i am generally not a conspiracy die but they refer to themselves as a plot and refer to themselves as the call or the west point mafia which out of tradition has formed networks among the young graduates. this did not happen by coincidence but when pretorius was in leavenworth, he didn't just sit there day he had a fast network of colleagues throughout the bureaucracy. he reaches out and forms a back channel and cultivates a woman in the white house may give in sullivan who is a chief adviser for iraq in the national security council. to form of back channel
talking on the phone practically every day. picture this. pretorius is a three-star general for leavenworth talking on the phone every day with a senior advisor to the president on their estates general case to the four-star general commanding troops in iraq says the only need one more brigade. and to when it comes to washington and he leaped and out of the way restaurants restaurants, this is not paul love from well situation but purely professional but essentially subverting the chain of command. he always has been off the reservation type of guy to
go his own way to do what is necessary here in leavenworth. with the same time there is a civilian analyst who has written a surgeon at the american enterprise institute. they use their connections to get the study into the white house directly to president bush coming into the pentagon, secretary of defense, subordinates in iraq so by the time pretorius becomes the top commander, it is lined up to impose a strategy he once with the full backing of the united states government, army government, army, president, another coincidence, a very wizardly coordinated.